Tiny microscopic organisms called bacteria are teeming all over the earth. These one celled organisms are some of the smallest known creatures to exist. Beware, this rapidly reproducing army of bacteria can spread disease and chaos wherever they go (http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/E/Eubacteria.html). Part of what makes them so dangerous is that they can survive almost anywhere, even space (http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/S/Surveyor3.html) ! But they are not invulnerable antibiotics and bacteriostats can kill or subdue them. They were designed to be amazingly complex and come in many shapes and forms causing them to be classified several ways (http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/E/Eubacteria.html).
Bacteria, singular bacterium, are one celled organism composed of several elements. It is part of a larger group known as the prokaryotic cells (http://www.lanesville.k12.in.us/lcsyellowpages/Tickit/Carl/bacteria.html). It is considered by most to be the simplest complete organism (http://science.jrank.org/pages/4906/Organism.html). The most common elements that compose a bacterium are Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Phosphorous, Sulfur, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, and Iron (http://www.textbookofbacteriology.net/nutgro.html).
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Bacteria can be classified several different ways. They can be classified by shape into the bacilli (long rod shape), cocci (a sphere shape), sprilla (having walls that curve) groups. They are also classified as Gram positive or Gram negative. Gram-positive bacteria have an extra spongy lining which can hold a certain type of purple dye. Gram negative does not hold this type of dye because it is missing the second spongy layer of the cell wall (http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/E/Eubacteria.html).
For such a small organism bacteria is incredibly complex. The definition of bacteria is an organism that does not have a nuclear membrane or a membrane around any of its internal structures (http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/E/Eubacteria.html). The RNA is allowed to float freely through out the cytoplasm. Cytoplasm fills the interior of the bacteria and is where the various mechanisms of a bacteria float about (http://www.biology4kids.com/files/cell_cytoplasm.html). Ribosomes are microscopic parts of a bacteria which translate what the RNA says to the various proteins so a new cell can be formed (http://www.cellsalive.com/cells/bactcell.htm).On the outside there is the cell wall that protects the cell. If the cell wall is destroyed then the bacteria can no longer survive because it will explode. While not all bacteria have pilli some do. Pilli is used for a bacteria to attach itself to another cell. Some bacteria also have flagella, which is a long tail that helps the bacteria navigate to a food source (http://www.lanesville.k12.in.us/lcsyellowpages/Tickit/Carl/bacteria.html). For bacteria without flagella they must rely on various kinds of animals, wind, and water currents to move themselves about (http://www.ict-science-to-society.org/pathogenomics/Bacteria.htm).
Bacteria's life cycle begins when there is just one bacterium. Under ideal circumstances bacteria can complete one division in twenty minutes. The bacteria then split up slowly during the "lag stage". This stage is when the bacteria is still acclimating .to its circumstances such as the amount of sunlight and moisture. After the lag stage comes the "Log stage". The dividing of the bacteria rapidly increases in this part. After the overwhelming increase from the "log stage" the bacteria slows down and starts to level out the amount of division occurring. Finally the last stage is the death stage. It's exactly what it sounds like the bacteria dies because of toxic build up (http://www.ehow.com/about_5380594_bacteria-life-cycle.html).
Bacteria are one of the microscopic organisms that cause disease. Bacteria often get a bad rap because of this. Bacteria cause diseases such as Lyme disease. Lyme disease is transferred into your body through bites from ticks and fleas (http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/l/lyme_disease/causes.htm). Animals such as dogs are susceptible. Another disease caused by bacteria is Black Death. . However not all bacteria is completely bad. An example of this is E. coli. This paticular bacteria is well known for the violent disease associated with it. However when in the proper amount, as found in ones large intestine, it actually can help break down food and create useful vitamins (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/213389/the_good_and_bad_of_e_coli.html?cat=53).
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Bacteria are extremely resilient. They do not die easily from old age or harsh conditions. It was discovered that a type of bacteria known as Streptococcus mitis could survive in space (http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/S/Surveyor3.html). Scientists also found some bacteria that were an estimated 11,000 years old in a Mayan pyramid and it was still living (http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/B/bacteria.html)! Other bacteria can survive in sulfuric acid (Planet Earth). How is that bacteria can stay in such harsh conditions and live? While not all bacteria is quite as resilient as others there are some bacteria known as extremophiles which can enter a state of suspended animation and preserve themselves by using chemicals around themselves to shield them from being killed. If they cannot find the exact chemicals then they produce them from the materials around them (http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/B/bacteria.html).
Despite the resilient properties of many bacteria they can be killed or rendered useless. An example of this is the use of bacteriostasis which means that one stops the further growth of bacteria but not killing it. Bacteriostats, which induce bacteriostasis, can be found in some soaps and deodorants. Bacteria can also be killed through use of heat, antibiotics and chemicals. Antibiotics can be thought of as a poison specifically engineered to kill a certain bacteria but not healthy cells (http://health.howstuffworks.com/healthillness/treatment/medicine/medications/question88.htm). One example an antibiotic is of penicillin that destroys the wall of the bacteria (http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2002/thornton/how_does_penicillin_work.htm). If the wall of a bacterium is destroyed then the bacteria can no longer reproduce and is rendered obsolete. The bacteria can also be destroyed when its cell wall is weakened and allows too much water to come in, so the bacterium explodes. Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic after a spore of the fungi penicillin landed in one of his Petri dishes. He observed that there were no bacteria growing near the penicillin. Another bacteriologist by the name of Howard Florey developed penicillin into a drug to kill bacteria it was a huge breakthrough for medicine (http://www.yachtingnet.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/fleming.html). However some bacteria actually can become immune to an antibiotic when it administered in too small of a dose. When that happens the antibiotic has created what is sometimes referred to as a superbug. A superbug is a bacterium that is drug resistant (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/30/60minutes/main614935.shtml). There are other chemicals capable of killing even the toughest bacteria such as bleach but they also kill the human host and so are not effective in medicine (http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/mole00/mole00138.htm).
However a new type of treatment for bacteria caused diseases called probiotics is now on the market. Probiotics are living bacteria that are good for you. They can be consumed into the human body through tablets and powders. These bacteria when placed in the human body help with cleaning it out and killing other bad bacteria. These probotics also help to replenish the human body's natural occurring bacteria which are killed when antibiotics are let loose on the body (http://nccam.nih.gov/health/probiotics/).
Like little invaders, Bacteria are everywhere. These one-celled organism with an unbounded nucleus are extremely small but can be deadly. They may seem invulnerable because of their resilient properties but they can be killed through antibiotics and other chemicals. However not all bacteria are bad. Some bacteria like E. coli and probiotics are good in moderation. So all in all, Bacteria are amazing miniscule organism with capabilities to help modern medicine.